While the closure of educational institutions has protected students from coronavirus, its impact has been highly detrimental on the education & learning of India’s youth, especially those who do not have access to internet-based learning. Despite many impressive leaps in the education sector and the attention it is receiving from recent government policies, a lot remains to be accomplished to make it inclusive & impactful. There is no certainty as to when schools and colleges will resume; a prolonged gap is going to affect interest and ability to go back to learning. The lack of smartphones and high-speed internet, and the lack of availability of quality e-material in regional languages are major issues. How are we to cope with the losses suffered in learning and education because of these situations?
In this context, TiE Bangalore, in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the Cloud and Innovation Partner, YuWaah (an initiative of UNICEF) as the Knowledge Partner and Head Held High Foundation as the Field Partner, designed the TiE Learning Challenge, a 3-month program to fast-track early-stage start-ups working to provide education, learning, skilling and entrepreneurship solutions for the masses.
Announced on 15th August 2020, this Challenge attracted over 47 start-ups/non-profit applications, and based on their initial submission, shortlisted 11 for a jury pitch on 23rd September
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The jury consisted of experienced eminent members of the ed-tech ecosystem –
Anand Sudarshan ( Founder & Director at Sylvant Advisors & Former MD & CEO, Manipal Education), Sunil PP ( India Head – Education at Amazon Internet Services Pvt. Ltd.),Puneet Jetli( Founder, SensiWise Solutions, Co-founder, Happiest Minds & Trustee, Head Held High Foundation), Anjali Sosale (Partner, WaterBridge Ventures), Neelam Pol (Programme Specialist, Innovation, UNICEF) and Madan Padaki (Managing Trustee, Head Held High, Strategic Advisor UNICEF & TiE Bangalore Governing Council Member)
The jury also spent an hour discussing the opportunities for edupreneurs in the current situation and in the backdrop of the NEP.
Based on the pitches by these start-ups and extensive discussions, the jury has shortlisted the following 6 start-ups for the TiE Learning Challenge cohort
- Clearly Blue Digital, Cofounder: Padmaja Narsipur(vernacular reinforcement learning thru SMS)
- Wonder Sky, Cofounder: Ramprasad Subramanian (interactive learning content through connected television)
- Zaya Learning Labs Pvt. Ltd., Cofounder: Rishabh Shukla (affordable e-learning for last-mile learners)
- Tactopus, Cofounder,Saloni Mehta (Learning models for children with disability)
- Chie Media Pvt. Ltd, Cofounder – Nirmala Kamath (smart interactive television for childhood learning)
- Kaizen Secure Voiz, Cofounder: Avinash Kulkarni (tele-teacher IVRS platform)
These start-ups will get access to focused one-on-one mentoring for three months and will also get an opportunity to implement, test, and fast-track solutions in various parts of rural India through Head Held High Foundation’s network. During this period, TiE Bangalore will also help connect to relevant experts, Corporates and the larger start- up community to aid in scaling up. At the end of the 3-month period, they will get an opportunity to pitch to Angel Investors and VCs. These start-ups will get an opportunity to enrol in the AWS EdStartprogram and receive the community, technical, financial, and marketing benefits of this global program.
TiE Bangalore had a role to play in LabinApp, which was recently acquired by Byjus. LabinApp was one of the winners of the TiE Bangalore Eduthon in 2015 – and they were subsequently mentored & invested by our Charter Members including Anand Sudarshan, Madan Padaki & Srikrishna Ramamoorthy.
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